Kheper Book of Gnosis (on-going work in progress)

For some months now, I’ve been working on an esoteric-occult encyclopaedia, to be titled The Kheper Book of Gnosis. This will be an updated and revised version of the kheper net site, except in book form. Because of limitations of space in a book as opposed to a website, it will be more concise (at least in places). But there will also be a large amount of new material, along with some new insights I’ve had in the ten or twenty years since working on the site.

One of the most important new additions will be regarding the Kabbalistic sefirot. These have only a cursory coverage in kheper net, in contrast to the comprehensive coverage I give the chakras.

The Sefirot are in a sense the occidental equivalent of the Chakras.  Both are traditional, syncretic, religio-esoteric systems, developed over some 1500 years or more. Both constitute an archetypal map or structure that purports to describe the nature of Reality, incorporating a complex set of Correspondences including theology, cosmology, the microcosm in relation to the macrocosm, and more. And both have been incorporated into modern esotericism beginning with the late 19th and early 20th century occult revival, although mostly each independent of the other.

There related to the distinction between watered-down popular esotericism and the more indepth esotericism of cosmological gnosis. By cosmological gnosis I mean “theosophy” (Wisdom of the Gods or of God), including but not limited to the Theosophy of Blavatsky. Neoplatoism, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, Ishraqism, Tantra, Jacob Boehme, Martinus Thomsen, and others. Cosmological gnosis represents gnosis as the way of form, in contrast to the nonduality gnosis of acosmic Eastern systems such as Advaita, Madhyamika, Dzogchen, Quietist Taoism, Ch’an/Zen, and so on.

I’m also revising the classification and taxonomy of the Gurus. They are no longer lumped together in a shapeless muddle, but will be listed according to their spiritual Tradition. Ramana Maharshi, that purest and most selfless of Gurus, is of course Advaitin. So is Vivekananda, who introduced Vedanta to the West. Muktananda is Kashmir Shaivite. Nisargadatta is Natha. And Prem Rawat (“Guru Maharaji”) is Sant Mat / Radha Soami, strange as it may seem. This despite all of them teaching essentially the same nonduality doctrine.

One thing I do in this encyclopaedia is scrap the “Intermediate Zone” classification of Gurus. It is too arbitrary and subjective. It’s not that the concept has no value, but rather that it is difficult to assess the status of various gurus unless I have had a lot to do with them.

Then there is the idea of making esotericism as rigorous as the Sciences, albeit from a phenomenological (inward, imaginal, noetic) rather than am empirical (external, experimental, quantitative) perspective. This would involve a consistent terminology, one based on Neoplatonism, with perhaps some of Theon‘s Cosmic Philosophy (which was one of the theoretical influences on Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Vedanta), as well as of course Jung, Henry Corbin, and others.

I’m also adding various new topics such as Source Amnesia (the predominance of poor or absent scholarship means that modern esotericism is not anchored in any historical tradition, but floats freely in a New Age muddle of half disgested concepts), High Strangeness (in that Fortean phenomena such as UFOs, cryptids, and other such anomalies reveal that the Universe as we understand it doesn’t really make sense), the Re-enchantment of the World (e.g. Richard Tarnas, who, like Jung, discovered the rather inexplicable efficiency of everyday astrology), Conspiracism (the new retreat from reason which reached its extreme in the strange apocalyptic cult of QAnon), and more.

What I hope to do is weave all this together, the old material and the new, in a radical esoteric synthesis.